Five percent of upperclassmen take leave of absence

About five percent of upperclassmen — 25 sophomores, 76 juniors, and 70 seniors — opted to take leaves of absence (LOAs) for the fall term, Student Support Services Associate Dean James Collins wrote in an email to The Tech. 

Under the terms of a LOA, a student in good academic standing can request to take between one to four semesters away from MIT. Students may choose to take a leave “for a break, a change of direction or emphasis, or even to take advantage of educational, research, travel, or volunteer opportunities,” according to the Student Financial Services website. 

Collins wrote that “many” of the students taking a LOA this semester “are extending their summer internships” or “have secured or are pursuing new internships.”

In Fall 2019, 22 students requested a LOA; in Fall 2018, 30 students did so. Collins wrote that S3 “expected more LOA requests this year than in previous years” but “didn’t make any predictions” given “the unprecedented circumstances.”

While first years are not eligible to request LOAs, 87 first year students opted to take a gap year. Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill ’86 wrote in an email to The Tech that typically “between 10 and 15 students will defer in a given year.”